Of boys and data-driven questions

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Disclaimer: what I am about to say is controversial.

Do not let your boys read books.

Here’s why: because books awaken their brain. It makes them think. And then it makes them ask questions. 

Now, asking questions, in esse, is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it is to be encouraged. The problem arises when boys confuse where facts and babies come from. Sometimes they think it is the same source: their mother. And if you are a mother of boys, that means you.

Be careful, go and hide your books.

On a recent trip away from home, my youngest found himself wi-fi-less, 3G-less and, horror of all horrors, Fortnite-less. Not knowing what to do with himself, he found a book and a bicycle and, after careful investigation, decided to try both.

Little did I know, while smirking in my little corner and congratulating myself on being the best mother ever by offering my son the opportunity to leave his technological lair and experience the fresh air, that I was creating a monster. A data-driven, question-mongering monster.

“What is the fastest sports car?” He asked on a recent car excursion. It was hot, humid, with a hint of traffic. I was tired and nursing the beginnings of a headache. 

“I don’t know,” I said and politely suggested he ask his older brother, not a book reader by any means, but a bit of a data friend—a scourer of facts and figures.

Dissatisfied, he asked me, “What is the most fattening fast food?” 

I was happy to be able to answer that one, remembering when my husband brought back the menu of a certain cheesecake restaurant so that I may ogle the gazillions of calories on offer. 

“But that’s a restaurant,” he said, “that’s not fast food.” In that case, I ventured, I didn’t know. I was praying for a fast arrival to our destination.

Two minutes later he asked me which I thought was the biggest shopping mall in the country.

“Please leave me alone,” I pleaded.

“What?! You don’t want to make conversation?” He was incensed.

And that’s when I lost it.

“But that’s not conversation,” I screamed, “that is you expecting me to know the brand of every sports car currently being manufactured and its maximal speed, the brand of every fast food, its menu and the calories of every item on that menu; in addition to me knowing the floor size of every mall, the number of shops it has, its daily footprint and the amount of money it generates, depending on WHAT YOU MEAN BY BIGGEST!!”

He was disappointed in me, I could tell. So in an effort of appeasement, I told him how proud I was of him being so curious and that that was a sure sign of a bright and successful future. I then suggested that Google would have all the answers he was looking for. Also his brother.

His own efforts at appeasement sounded more like this: “so what’s your favorite Ferrari?”

We drove the rest of the way in silence.

Upon my arrival home, I promptly renewed his data bundle and made sure the television and Fortnite were connected. I then snuck into his room and removed all the reading material there was.

All is now back to normal and happiness, once again, reigns on us all.

You have been warned.

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